● “THE SPIRITUAL MISSION OF GEORGIA”
THE SPIRITUAL MISSION OF GEORGIA
A lecture delivered at the IDRIART FESTIVAL
in Tbilisi Philharmonic House 2 May, 1990
Dear friends: As it is quite impossible to do justice to such a complex theme in a single lecture, my address will inevitably be in the nature of an overview. I shall try to give a general outline of the problems upon which I and my friends have reflected over the past years, I shall also touch upon the results of separate studies carried out in Georgia as well as in the West.
The plan of the lecture will be as follows: I shall first speak about the ethnogeny of the Georgians. As I am aware that our Western guests are particularly interested in this topic, I shall treat of such aspects that may not be known to them and are given scant attention in present-day Western scholarship. Furthermore, during the long period of Soviet ideological dictatorship much in the history of Georgian culture has been hushed, distorted, and tabooed. This field of knowledge had been placed under a kind of ban, which regrettably, continues to the present day for it is not so easy to shake oneself free of the effects of the hypnosis of that notorious period. Many issues have been falsified and usurped by Soviet imperial scholarship and subjected to its interests. Unfortunately, Georgian scholars too have come under this influence. I do not want to name them personally; they still do not dare to carry on research along lines that would shed light on these issues. All this was being done with momentous and far-reaching objectives in mind. In this connection, a major campaign was launched against the Georgian scholars Ivane Javakhishvili and Niko Marr. The studies of such major scholars as Wilhelm Humboldt and others in the sphere of the ethnogeny of the Iberians were shelved. This was being done with the purpose of instilling an inferiority complex in the Georgian nation. Soviet scholarship, particularly the classics of Marxism-Leninism founded a theory (see Stalin’s theory in this connection) according to which the Georgian nation allegedly took shape in the nineteenth century; prior to the indicated period – this theory would have us believe – it was neither a nation nor did it exist; the advent of capitalism in Georgia in the past century determined according to this theory, the development of the Georgian people into a nation. This is a Marxist theory which prevails to the present day and which some of our scholars cannot get rid of, continuing to labor under it. All this had far-reaching implications.
What is the actual situation with regard to the Georgian ethnogeny? In the twentieth century, the leading Georgian scholars Acad. Ivane Javakhishvili and N. Marr made a study of the genetic roots of the Georgian nation, but their conclusions were bitterly opposed by orthodox Soviet scholarship. At the same time, as noted above, the studies, of the great German scholar Wilhelm Humboldt were passed over in silence. Wherein lay the essence of these studies, why have they been taboo to the present day, and why is modern ethnological and linguistic research not developing in this direction?
To begin with, Humboldt’s research into the Basque language and the ancient population of the Iberian peninsula led him to the conclusion that the primary, autochthonous population of Southern Europe, viz. the Iberian peninsula, Italy, and the Mediterranean islands, was Iberian. This population was called proto-Iberian, the later European population stemming from it. The term Mediterranean race (or people) is also used in scholarship. In order to refer to the people of the Caucasian race use is also made of the terms palaeo-Caucasian or ancient Caucasian race and ancient-Mediterranean race, the terms being interchangeable. I am referring to the population diffused from the Iberian peninsula, into the Mediterranean and Aegean basins, the Balkans, into modern Greece, the Caucasus, and the territory of modern India as well as into Asia Minor and Palestine. This is the area of diffusion of the proto-Iberian people which, according to Humboldt, had many offshoots. These people had a single basic language with many dialectal branches, and even if these dialects assumed the character of separate languages, they remained kindred and developed as mutually related languages. That is why the term proto-Iberian gained currency, to which – as I have just said – the ancient population of the Iberian peninsula and Italy, in particular, Basque, Lusitanian, Etruscan, Pelasgian, etc. is linked. Further, Marr studied the language of the Sumerians, the ancient Iberian tribes of Asia Minor and Mesopotamia, while the eminent Georgian scholar Mikheil Tsereteli researched the genetic relationship of Sumerian and modern Georgian.
Marr’s studies, as well as those carried out by objective representatives of Armenian scholars (e.g. Ghapantsian), have shown that a considerable part of the Asia Minor population belonged to the proto-Iberian race, represented by the Meskhians or Moschoi, Cappadocians, Colchians, Taochoi, and others. Thus, there are different branches of one and the same people referred to in scholarship as Kartvelian or proto-Iberian while Georgia or the Georgian nation proper – located in the Caucasus – is linked to – the Iberian-Caucasian branch. Of the numerous branches of Iberian, at present Pyrenean (Spanish) Iberian or Basque and Caucasian Iberian or Georgian (with its related tribes in the Northern Caucasus) have survived. The rest have already been assimilated into the Indo-European part of mankind. The Indo-Europeans seem to have arrived in Europe later, viz. after the second millennium B.C., whereas the proto-Iberian or palaeo-Mediterranean and palaeo-Caucasian population is believed to have been on the upgrade from earliest times to the third millennium B.C. The decline of these people, i. e. their numerical diminishment and assimilation by the newly arriving Indo-Europeans, commenced in the third millennium.
From this lime and later, the Hittite and Ancient Greek or Hellenic worlds come to the fore. But there occurred a synthesis of cultures: the primary cultures of Minos, the Aegean cultures, and Cochin (Ancient Colchian) cultures, the latter being closely connected with Minoan, became linked to the Mediterranean or proto-Iberian people. Subsequently – from the second millennium B.C. – the Hittite world, which was already Indo-European, began to advance to the foreground, along with the ancient Greek world, stemming from the Vedic Greek tribe that had come to the territory on which later arose the ancient Greek world with its culture. On the basis of the evidence of Greek historians the primordial population of ancient Greece is defined as Pelasgic or proto-Iberian. The Pelasgians formed a branch of the proto-Iberians, similarly to the Etruscans, the Colchians, and other peoples. The Colchian, Pelasgian, Trojan, and Minoan were closely related worlds, and for practical purposes of study can be considered as constituting one single world, a world reflected in the great epic of Homer. Modern scholarship’s serious studies of this civilization have not been given adequate publicity. In the West, the well-known scholar Furnee is engaged in research along these lines; he has published a significant study of pre-Greek, or Pelasgic and Kartvelian. In Georgia, Professor Rismag Gordeziani is doing fruitful work in this direction; he too has made important inferences in studying the ethnogeny of the tribes mentioned in the Iliad, as. well as the role of Kartvelian or proto-Georgian tribes in the Trojan War. Light has been shed in his studies on the genetic relation of the Georgian language to Etruscan and of Kartvelian tribes to the Lycians, Carians, and the entire world of Asia Minor and the Aegean – primarily to Troy. The Trojan world was older than the Hellenic, for the Greeks fought in Troy in order to secure the sacred, mysterious wisdom of the Palladium. Troy is the same Colchian world, for in the dispute of the Achaeans with the Trojans the latter explain the abduction of Helen as a kind of revenge for the earlier carrying off of Medea by the Achaeans. The Trojans remonstrate with the Achaeans saying that inasmuch as earlier they had been deprived of a woman i.e. Medea, now Helen had been carried off in retaliation; thus, The Colchians appear in the role of the abductors. The Trojans and the Colchians are a people of the same stock as that which constitutes the population of the entire Mediterranean Basin and the bulk of the population of Asia Minor. Such are the far-reaching findings of modern scholarship but, as noted above, all this is passed over in silence and instead the role of the Indo-Europeans in that archaic period is being boosted. Yet, as is known, the Indo-European people largely gained ascendancy from the second millennium, and the Trojan War, described in the Illiad, actually occurred at a time when the Indo-Europeans had already gained the upper hand both in Asia Minor and in Greece, while the Pelasgian people were threatened with a decline, though Achilles, the greatest hero of the Trojan War, is of Pelasgic origin, i.e. a representative of the Kartvelian people, while Agamemnon and Menelaus are of purely Hellenic extraction, representing the Hellenic world. Here we are dealing with an obvious conflict between the Hellenic and proto-Georgian worlds: Troy is the proto-Georgian world, whereas the Achaeans represent its Hellenic counterpart. One of the main objectives of the campaign1 one that stands out in the conflict, is to carry off the Palladium, which is symbolically effected through the Trojan horse. True, symbolically we here have the motif of the abduction of a woman, but Helen is the symbol of the ancient pagan Sophia (the abduction of Wisdom or Sophia, and its subsequent retrieval is a widespread motif in classical poems), while the horse is known to have been the symbol of intelligence in ancient epic poetry and myths. The Achaean Greek mission of developing intelligence was already a new stage of consciousness, while ancient Colchian, Trojan, Pelasgic culture was a clairvoyant one which preceded intellectual, reasoning culture. Ancient Greek myths was in reality not Greek but Pelasgic, as noted by the eminent German philosopher Schelling, who defined the Pelasgic period in the development of Greece as Sabism, i.e. the period of clairvoyant wisdom. From Greek mythology of the subsequent period we learn that Perseus and other heroes transferred the clairvoyant, Pelasgic culture to a reasoning culture, viz. intellectual, Greek culture.
The Promethean myth is also related to the foregoing. who was Prometheus? Generally speaking, mythos and mythology are not identical notions. Mythos is the universe of myths, while mythology is the interpretation, meaning, or logos of this universe of myths, i.e. the logos or reason of mythos. Thus, the Greek myths were created by the Pelasgians while the Hellenes systematized and interpreted them. Homer and Hesiod were not the creators of Greek myths but the systematizers and interpreters of the mythos of the Pelasgic period. They were mythologizers while the names of the mythographers of the Pelasgic period have not come down to us, but the gods – personages of mythos – have survived The principal gods of the ancient Greek pantheon are of Pelasgic origin, including Zeus. A Pelasgic chthonic Zeus whose cult is connected with the oak is known to have existed; Hera was an ancient Pelasgic-Iberian goddess, also Demeter, in connection with whose stem Acad. I. Javakhishvili pointed out that the stem de is absolutely alien to the ancient Greek language. To be sure, meter does mean mother, but de is a stem of purely Iberian origin, de or deda denoting mother-goddess. Thus, Demeter is the image in which the ancient Colchian or Pelasgian mother-goddess became fused with the ancient Greek goddess. This is how the ancient Greek pantheon became grafted, as it were, on the proto-Georgian, proto-Iberian, or Pelasgic pantheon.
To return to Prometheus, the myth of Prometheus is most important from the viewpoint of the evolution of humankind as well as of the ethnogeny of the Georgians, for the myth in question is known to be linked to the Caucasus, and hence it is not fortuitous that the basic developments of the Creek mythos are connected with the Caucasus. Let us recall the expedition of the Argonauts and the chaining of Prometheus to the Caucasus Range – both major events in Creek mythology. The mission of the personages of mythos – their spiritual identity – was always defined by their names. The names of the personages of mythos (as you are aware, myths were created in ancient mysteries by the priests, devotes, and adepts), as well as the names of gods, demigods, titans, and heroes were directly related to their essential function. Thus, Prometheus [Prometheia, prometheo] in Greek means prophetic thinking, foresight, forethought, while Epimetheus, his brother’s name, means deliberative thinking or afterthought: What does Prometheus stand for? He is a representative of the mankind that must develop prophetic or intuitive thinking, while Epimetheus is to develop reasoning or intellectual thought. Prometheus is the son of Iapetus. The latter name is defined by Zeno of Rica as the upper spiritual world – Iapetus, i.e. what strives upward, to the spiritual world.
Thus, Prometheus is the son of the upper or spiritual world, in other words, of prophetic thinking. As observed by Plutarch, ancient Greek myths – as well as all myths in general – could be interpreted at twelve different levels. One of the principal interpretations of the Prometheus myths in the evolution of mankind is the stage at which thinking becomes chained to man’s physical body with the descent of his soul into it, thus becoming trapped in this physical body. Now, the liberation of Prometheus who is chained to the Caucasus is the liberation of this thinking from the bodily principle. The liberated Prometheus is liberated prophetic thinking, while the chained Prometheus is thinking chained to man’s physical body. This is the stage in mankind’s evolution known as sinking of human essence or soul into the physical body; subsequently, the soul is liberated from matter. This is one the spiritual, philosophical aspect of the Prometheus myth.
The second aspect is ethnological, namely that Prometheus is the symbol of the ethnos or people that is to develop a culture of mysteries, with all its consequences; viz. of spiritual development, initiation and spiritual thinking. Such is this people, whereas Zeus – viewed from this angle – embodies a people that came to Greece later, established its cult by force, and chained Prometheus to the Caucasus; What was the cause of this punishment? It was the meeting of the representatives of two cultures or peoples in Corinth, one aligned to Prometheus, and the other to Zeus. This was a symbolic reflection of the coming together of two cultures or peoples one was the indigenous, primordial Creek population and the other, newly come, Indo-European or Hellenic. At this meeting, Prometheus and his attendant priests cheat Zeus and his friends in sharing the sacrificial ox. The deception of Zeus’ priests was made possible because the intellect and thinking of Prometheus’ priests were more advanced. It is symbolic of the superior intellectual development of the indigenous people: in other words. Pelasgic culture that the newly come Indo-Europeans found in Greece was superior to theirs. The culture of thought was correspondingly higher; subsequently the Indo-Europeans raised the Greek culture of thought to the highest stage of development. However, this was still the period of the first confrontation of the two peoples, when Prometheus’ priests divide the ox in such a way that the bones and fat fall to Zeus, and the best parts of the animal to themselves. This too is symbolic, for there we are dealing with a dual interpretation of the offering, Zeus’ priests pretending to have deliberately allowed themselves to be cheated. Then Zeus addresses Prometheus: – The son of Iapetus, the noblest of all rulers, the greatest seer of the future, friend, why did you share the ox thus?
Zeus is late in perceiving what Prometheus has done. Having understood Prometheus’ quality, Zeus refuses to give fire to mankind and chains Prometheus to the Caucasus as a punishment for his having provided men with it. Here fire is a symbol of man’s self. As you know, among the four elements (fire, water, earth and air) it is fire that corresponds to man’s self or identity. Zeus’ refusal to give mankind its identity, which it therefore lacks, and Prometheus’ provision of men with fire, i.e. their identity, reflects a definite stage in the development of mysterious culture when men received the self by descending into the physical body; now the chaining of Prometheus is precisely the stage at which man’s soul and his self-descend from the spiritual world into the physical body and man becomes aware of his self (Incidentally, the burial of the Titans in Tartarus following their struggle with the gods has the same implication). This is the consequence of Prometheus’ provision of mankind with fire, for all culture comes from self, in the same way as civilization follows from the use of fire. We learn from such symbols that Prometheus reflects the culture of mysteries that was primordial in ancient Greece and later became located in the Caucasus. which is reflected symbolically in the chaining of Prometheus to the Caucasus.
Prometheus is tormented by Zeus’ eagle. On the one hand, the eagle is a symbol of spiritual flight upward and cognition, and on the other, it symbolizes imperial power and violence that torments Prometheus. Prometheus chained to a rock, or thought chained to the physical body, was released by Heracles.
What does Heracles represent? He represents a new culture of initiation – volitional, heroic initiation – a prototype of Christian initiation. In general, the ancient Greek mysteries were prophetic in character. The central mysteries of ancient Greece were mysteries of “Eloizis”. This is an ancient Greek word and means a future event, what is to come to pass, prophecy. The image of Heracles is a prototype of Christian initiation, linked to volition, the activity of the soul and particularly to what is called taking of the Kingdom of Heaven by force in Christianity, for the essence of the Christian initiation is interpreted by Christ as the taking of the Kingdom of Heaven by force (“The Kingdom of Heaven is taken by the power of will”). Thus the feats of Heracles should be understood symbolically as the various stages of initiation of the different levels of spiritual development, culminating in the liberation of Prometheus, or the liberation of thought from the captivity of the physical body, and the redemption of mankind.
The foregoing interpretation of myths has ethnological implications, mythology and ethnology being closely related. The myths suggest the liberation of the people that had been chained or relegated to the Caucasus by Zeus or an Indo-European people. Thu the past and the future of the proto-Georgian or proto-Iberian people found reflection in the myth of Prometheus. Heracles – as already observed – is a symbolic expression of a new initiatory culture, viz. Christian culture, and by the way, this is so not only in modern spiritual science but in medieval theology as well. Even in Byzantine theology we come across writings hinting at Heracles being a prototype of Christ. For example, Heracles’ causing water to gush from a rock with his wand is considered a prototype of Christianity. The voyage of the Argonauts is also a prototype of Christian initiation; nor is it accidental that the Golden Fleece is referred to in spiritual science as the classical Grail. The Golden Fleece in the Classical period was the same as the Grail and the philosophers’ stone in the Middle Ages, the two being identical notions. Search for the philosophers’ stone is not only a search for physical gold but also a search for spiritual initiation for god, and for a definite developmental level of spiritual consciousness conveyed in Classical Greek mysteries as a quest for the Golden Fleece. The latter, as you are well aware, was preserved in Colchis, the golden ram having flown to Colchis from Greece. But this was a period when Pelasgic culture was flourishing in Greece, namely the Pelasgic culture of Argos. It is not fortuitous that the ship was called Argo, for the. stem of the word is of Colchian provenance; note the Georgian place names Argo, Argveti, Egrisi, containing the Colchian stem gr. The expedition to Colchis was symbolically or imaginatively undertaken in quest of mysterious wisdom which at the time was preserved in Colchis alone, no longer existing in the territory of Greece or in the countries of the Mediterranean basin. Consider also Theseus’ travel to Crete – again to acquire the wisdom that no longer existed in Classical Greece.
Note that the greatest heroes of Greece, Theseus, Heracles, and Jason (incidentally, Heracles too was on board the Argo), set out in quest of spiritual or mysterious wisdom in countries of proto-Georgian, proto-Iberian origin. Minoan Crete was one such country (incidentally Minos means a bearer of reason, a thinker); Theseus’ arrival in Crete, his entrance of the labyrinth; slaying of the Minotaur, and coming out purported the adoption of the Minoan culture that was older than and superior to ancient Greek culture.
The same refers to ancient Colchian culture which was at the time at a higher level than its Greek counterpart (It is not accidental that Aeetes’ sister Pasiphae was Minos’ wife). Thus, the expeditions of these heroes were invariably directed to Kartvelian countries. Heracles too goes to the Garden of the Hesperides in Spanish Iberia to fetch the apples.
The myth of Orpheus, too, gives his main objective as the revival of the cult of his Pelasgian ancestors. Orpheus was of Pelasgian origin, the son of Oeagrus (incidentally, the name of Orpheus’ father directly coincides with the name of Colchis: Egrisi, Egri). His purpose was to breathe new life into Pelasgian culture that had declined in the Hellenic period.
As for the voyage of the Argonauts, as noted above, it deals with different stages of ancient Greek, specifically Doric, initiation, and it is no mere chance that Doric – active – initiation is related to the Colchian world. Now, in medieval Byzantine theology, Germanus the Patriarch of Constantinople wrote his Miracles of the Archangels describing the voyage of the Argonauts to Colchis; the expedition is under the patronage of the Christian Archangel Michael. The Archangel, “a terrible power sent from heaven” reveals himself to the Argonauts, predicting their future success. You will have noted the peculiar interpretation of the pagan myth by Germanus – at first sight a representative of the exoteric Church: the “terrible power sent from heaven” is the Archangel Michael, and the voyage of the Argonauts is linked to the mission of Michael – the principal solar archangel of Christianity – power of God, as he is defined. (Significantly enough, Gernianus the Patriarch was of Colchian origin – a Laz).
Such are the links between pagan and Christian initiation, connected with proto-Georgian mysterious centers.
In Pindar’s Fourth Ode, Jason – as a figure and hero – is referred to as panther-skinned; he is not only the procurer of the Golden Fleece but a panther-skin hero as well. In general, panther-skin heroes are related to the proto-Georgian world. However, panther-skin priests occur in Egyptian mysteries too. Incidentally, the Trojan Paris also wears a panther skin, as do other Trojan heroes. The Dionysian processions too were led by a panther, Dionysus himself wearing a panther’s skin. Thus the skin of a panther is an ancient totemic image of Japhetic mankind or the Caucasian race.
Now, I should like to go back to the discussion of the ancient, proto-Iberian race. It will be recalled that Acad. Marr’s terms Japhetic race and Japhetic language have gained ground in scholarship. What does this imply?
You are aware of the existence of the notion of Semitic peoples and languages, as well as of Hamitic peoples related to ancient Egypt, and generally Africa. There is also the Japhetic race. The three Biblical brothers symbolically reflect branches of humankind, viz. Noah reflects the Atlantic or pre-Flood humanity i.e. the developmental stage of mankind before Atlantis was swallowed up by the sea, while his children were representatives of the post-Atlantis human race. Japhetic is one of their branches and incidentally, the Japheth of the Old Testament is related to the Iapetus of ancient Greek mythology. It is not fortuitous that Iapetus was Prometheus’ father; Japheth is identical to Iapetus, as is also the planet Jupiter and Jupiter’s race, white race. As is known, in esoteric the races are related to the planets: the White race to Jupiter, the Black to Mercury, the Red to Venus, and the Yellow or Mongolian to Mars. The first substrate of Jupiter’s race is precisely this Japhetic, proto-European or proto-Iberian mankind. This is how the mission of the proto-European, paleo-Caucasian and Mediterranean people is linked to that of Jupiter’s race. So much for the Classical, pagan period.
Now apropos of the Christian period. The advent of Christianity in Georgia is connected with the opening centuries of our era. The presence of two Apostles Andrew and Simon the Cananaian – in Georgia is not accidental; these were the first and the last apostles. Andrew was the first called, while Simon was the last to come to Christ, this being the symbol of their representing the alpha and omega; i.e. the beginning and the end. What part did the Kartvelian peoples play in the development of Christianity, in particular of Christianity propounded by the Archangel Michael, and why is the land called Georgia?
As you know, the Archangel Michael had prototypes in the Classical, i.e. pre-Christian, period. This was a being that appeared in the shape of gods protecting fertility, as gods of the weather or thunderstorms, such as Indra in ancient India, Marduk in the Mesopotamian world, Tarhu in the paleo-Caucasian world – a panther skin god of thunderstorm. In caves, this god was always depicted as attired in the panther’s skin. The panther skin is an attribute of a being known in antiquity under the name of Indra, Marduk, Tarhu, and in the Christian period as Michael and Saint George. Saint George is the earthly aspect of Michael. Michael represents the spiritual world, i.e. the mental aspect, whereas St. George is Michael’s aspect on the historical plane, i.e. in the physical world. But how did the name George become linked to our country?
Already the ancient Greeks called the Georgian georgoi because of the advancement of agriculture in this country. Georgos means “a tiller of the ground” but, at the same time, the cult of St. George is connected with fanning, particularly with the control of fertility, weather, atmospheric phenomena. This was the case in early Georgia – hence the Georgian national deity: White George. Now, the Christian St. George was a historical figure, being at the same time the earthly image of the spiritual Archangel Michael, both slayers of the dragon. This image and its worship were most congenial to the Georgian people; hence Christianity in Georgia acquired the worship of St. George. Christianity in its pure form existed for the clergy, the feudal class and the royal court, but. popular Christianity in Georgia may be said to have merged with the worship of St. George. However, this does not mean that the cult of George eclipsed Christianity. In George the Georgians perceived not only a Cappadocian saint but a Christian God as well, seeing God in the combative, dragon-slaying image of St. George. Thus Michael’s spiritual aspect of Christianity was the closest to Georgia. The name of the country became linked to George, who later became not only the principal saint of the Georgian nation but also the image of a Christian God. It should be noted that theology knows of different images and aspects of God. Even in the Apocalypse, the Messiah, God, or Christ is represented as a heavenly rider on a white horse (Rev. 19, 11-15). The familiar traditional images of Christ do not exhaust His essence. There is also another image – a fighting, dragon-slaying one – as found in the Revelation. This is precisely the prototype of St. George that proved most con-genial to the Georgians. By the way, the eminent Georgian scholar Ivane Javakhishvili noted that the cult of St. George in Georgia was an un-precedented phenomenon. Cases are on record of the festivals of the Trinity, Christmas and Easter being “absorbed” by the – festival of St. George, and of churches built in the name of the festivals just cited being identified with St. George; Thus, St. George is identified with God, for he is an image not only of a particular saint but of God as well.
Incidentally, the American scholar Jobes observes that St. George holds the same position in Georgia as Christ does. But this is wrong, for we are dealing not with the similarity of positions but with Christianity in Georgia being imaginatively or symbolically presented in a militant aspect. Essentially, Georgian Christianity may be said to be militant Christianity. It is a Christianity of knights, fighters, and it may be said also that Georgia was a single spiritual Order of St. George, and it was perceived as such by the Crusaders and by foreign visitors of the country, this leading to the establishment of the designation Georgia, which of course comes from the pagan period.
It was only foreigners that perceived the Georgians in this way. True, the Georgians did not use the word Georgian as a self-designation, but we are all well aware of the level of the cult of St. George in Georgia, and of the role this saint and its image plays in Georgian history. There is no other image that would express the national character more adequately. Here we should recall the principal monuments of Georgian literature and their relation to Michael’s Christianity – the worship of St. George. The Second aspect of Christian Georgia’s mission is linked to Georgia being a country fallen by lot to the Mother of God. Why is Georgia assigned to the Mother of God? This is because the principal divinity of the Japhetid or Kartvelian people was Mother-Goddess appearing in various aspects in different branches of this people, hence her name myrionym, i.e. with myriad names. This was the central mother-goddess found by the Greek colonists in Phasis, her large statue standing at the entrance to Phasis. In this country it is known as “mother-goddess” or “mother of the place” represented as Demeter or Hera in proto-Kartvelian countries. The cult of Artemis stems from this goddess, a parallel cult existing in Svaneti as the cult of Dali. As you know, the cult of Asia Minor goddesses is related to this ancient Japhetic mother-goddess. Now, the Mother of God of the Christian period is the Christian aspect of the same goddess – the Christian image of the being that was closest to this people and herein lies the mystic predetermination. When the Apostles cast lots to determine the country in which each should preach, Georgia fell to the Mother of God because the country was traditionally linked most to the mission of the mother of God, which is the same as that of the Holy Spirit.
As you know, the Trinity, i.e. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is characterized by many aspects or multiformity. The hypostasis of the son, i.e. the second mode, is manifested in the Divine-majusculine aspect of the Trinity, whereas the Holy Spirit is revealed in the feminine aspect or in the Mother of God. In his writings, Gregory of Nyssa states that the Holy Spirit is manifested in the Mother of God, the latter being the earthly embodiment and action of the Holy Spirit. The mission of the latter is directly related to that of the Mother of God. What is this mission? It is one of sanctification, i.e. the purification of humankind and, at the same time exposure to be effected by this principle, similar to the mission of Michael-George, viz., the development of spiritual thinking and the crushing of the universal serpent or dragon of materialism of universal evil, saving mankind thereby.
It is these two aspects that are linked closest to Georgia’s spiritual mission. Michael’s Christianity and St. George’s Christianity are two aspects of the same phenomenon, on the one hand, and Sophian Christianity or Christianity connected with the Mother of God, on the other, is the aspect of Christianity which is manifested in the Mother of God or Sophia. In Classical times this being emerged as the goddess of fertility, mother goddess, or earth, while in Christianity it is manifested as Sophia or divine, cosmic wisdom. Sophia is one of the designations of the Mother of God – an image of the Mother of God or the Holy Spirit. Wisdom emanating from the Holy Spirit is expressed in Sophia. These two aspects are basic to Georgia’s spiritual mission, being reflected in Georgian theology, art, and literature.
Before passing on to other problems, I shall briefly touch on Svetitskhoveli. I know that today our guests visited Svetitskhoveli, in Mtskheta. Svetitslhoveli is the church in which Georgia’s mission, Georgian spirituality, and Georgian Christianity have found most profound and all-round reflection. You are aware of the uniqueness of this church. for, as far as I know, in no other Christian church can one find a cult pillar. A pillar, more precisely two pillars, did exist in the temple built by Solomon in Jerusalem, while here a Christian temple has been built around a pillar. The pillar was the initial foundation of this church. The story of its construction is linked to that of the raising of the pillar, the latter symbolically embodying the Tree of Life. Historically, too, a cedar, which is a symbol of the tree of life, had grown at the site. The cedar was cut down and, by the prayers of St. Nino, the Angels raised it and the first church of St. Nino was constructed on the spot. Svetitskhoveii was built later at the same site. It is an allegorical church, similar to the house of the Lord built by Solomon. In what sense is the latter allegorical?
Two pillars were erected by Solomon in the temple, one embodying the tree of life and the other the tree of knowledge. Now, in Svetitskhov-eli we have a single pillar. The question may be asked as to the reason for this difference. It is because Solomon’s temple was connected with the Old Testament, i.e. esoteric Judaism, when the tree of life and the tree of knowledge were still separate, whereas the mission of Christian initiation is a harmonic merger of the tree of life and the tree of knowledge into an integral whole, hence the single pillar in Svetitskhoveli in contrast to the two of Solomon’s edifice. This also points to the unity of esoteric Judaism and esoteric Christianity. As is known, there was a Jewish community in Mtskheta that adopted Christianity at an early date, for they saw the unity between esoteric Judaism and Christianity.
One representative of the Mtskhetan Jews was present at the crucifixion of Christ. Our Lord’s tunic falling to him by lot, the man brought it to Mtskheta where it was buried under the pillar, together with his sister Sidonia. The lord’s tunic is a symbol of cosmic ether that envelops Christ, and the tree of life, which rises above the place where the tunic is buried, is connected with it. Merged in this tree of life is also the tree of knowledge which stood separate at the pre-Christian stage; here is given the ideal of the future – the mission of future Christianity. Other symbols of Svetitskhoveli also point to the extensive development of esoteric Christianity in Georgia Thus, on the southern wall of Svetitskhoveli we see St. George with a lion and a panther. Let us recall the struggle or the principal character of The Man in the Panther’s Skin with a lion and a panther. I should note at this point that in some Georgian bas-reliefs, e.g. the Mravaldzali one, St. George is slaying a panther rather than a dragon. The panther is identified with the dragon slain by St. George, i.e. a symbol of the base instincts that are defeated by the human self in the process of initiation. This is what we perceive on the southern wall of Svetitskhoveli. On the political level this a symbol of fighting Georgia, of fighting Orthodox Christian Georgia that vanquishes political Islam – the panther or Turkey, and the lion or Iran. This bas-relief is amenable to such an interpretation too. On the inner southern wall of Svetitskhoveli we find the depiction of an apocalyptic Judgment Day, featuring many symbols interesting from the esoteric point of view, including an image of a panther as an apocalyptic beast. In this fresco the beast is depicted as a spotted panther. In general, the panther in Rustaveli’s poem is spotted. Such esoteric symbols are numerous in Georgian churches, calling for a special study and interpretation. I shall merely observe that the motifs of the Grail are very frequent in Georgian frescoes. Such motifs occur in Gelati which, as is known, was an Orthodox Montsalvat, the seat of the culture of the Grail in Georgia – the Grail Christianity was blended with the Orthodox Church in Georgia.
In the West the exoteric or Catholic Church was separated from its esoteric counterpart, a Crusade being declared against the latter. In Georgia, however, the two formed a unity, on account of which David the Builder was called King-Priest John. What does King-Priest John mean and how should we define the period in the evolution of mankind that is linked to King-Priest John? In this connection we must recall Wolfram von Eschenbach’s poem Parziwal. King-Priest John is the son of Parzival’s half-brother Feirefiz.
Now, Feirefiz means a “black-and-white son”. What is the significance of black-and-white? It is well known that in medieval chivalrous romances and poems the characters symbolically embody some path or idea, in other words these characters are personifications. Parzival, in particular, is the personification of the initiatory path of the West; he sets out in quest of the Grail and finds it. Feirefiz represents the integration of the Eastern and Western paths. That is why he is black-and-white, i.e. a blend of the white race with a darker one. He is black-and-white for the additional reason that in him Western Christian wisdom is blended with Arabic wisdom, as is the case with the Templars. The movement of the Templars was the Western path of initiation transferred to the East where it absorbed the oriental wisdom, namely Arabic-Persian, yielding a hybrid – the black-and-white Feirefiz, an embodiment of oriental Templar movement with its oriental coloring. Old Georgian chivalry was connected with this Templar order, primarily David the Builder, the Georgia of Queen Tamar’s epoch, and Shota Rustaveli. The Templar movement is not only a Western phenomenon, for we have evidence of the closest links between Georgian knights and the Templars. It was a movement that united Western and Eastern wisdom, Western and Eastern initiation. This is why King-Priest John is the son of the black-and-white half-brother of Parzival. In the Chronicles of the Crusades King-Priest John is identified with David the Builder; however, this is not only a symbol of the person of David the Builder but in general a symbol of the totality of wisdom that was born in the West and later fused with oriental wisdom. The Tabronit or the Caucasian Uplands, mentioned in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival, is the offspring culture of this synthesized wisdom. As the poem is allegorical, Georgia is not referred to directly in it. Not a single historically known country or person is mentioned in Eschenbach’s poem; it contains only symbolic and allegorical names of countries and personages, the personifications of this or that movement or path of initiation being represented by various characters; thus Parzival’s father Gahmuret is a symbol of the stage when the movement of the Grail had not yet taken shape and the Grail Christianity had not appeared on the scene. Parzival is a symbol of the Grail movement itself, while Feirefiz – as already noted – is the symbol of the Grail or Templar movement transferred to the East; Eschenbach directly points to Tauronit or Georgia as the source of all this. Georgia’s pseudonym, as it were, in the work under discussion is Tauronit or Tabronit. This is because the word is related to Taurus or the culture of the bull; as you know, the culture of the Bull in the proto-Georgian or proto-Iberian world was the leading one while, cosmically, the period of the bull reigned.
Recall the Cretan-Minoan cult of the Bull, the cult of the Minotaur, the struggle with it, and so on. In this connection Eschenbach refers to it as the source of the culture of mysteries. It is to this Caucasian mountain range, this Tauronit, this fabulous land where King-Priest John reigns, that Eschenbach points to as the source of everything, viz. mysterious wisdom and mysterious culture. This is hinted at in Eschenbach’s Parzival which, as you know, is not easy to decipher and interpret. Researchers are confronted with a number of difficulties when trying to conjecture the intent of the ciphered proper names or geographical designations. But we are more or less able to draw conclusions, for the poet points particularly to the Caucasian mountains and a land adjacent to the Caucasus as the source of the mysterious culture and the abode of King-Priest John in whose realm is the seat of spiritual wisdom. Incidentally, the Crusaders referred to the land as spiritual India as well; this was because in the Middle Ages India was not only a geographical term but was often used in the spiritual sense too as the homeland of spiritual, mysterious culture. India is mentioned similarly in The Man in the Panther’s Skin, but without reference to geographical or historical India. The same is the reference to India in Nizami Ganjevi’s Iskander-namah, implying a world of mysteries. Hence the coincidences between the Georgian and Western cultures. Regrettably, history has not preserved much about the relationships between countries in the period under discussion, and whatever has survived still awaits study. Nevertheless, such creations as The Man in the Panther’s Skin, Odes, the chivalrous romances of the West, and Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival, give indications of the intensive relations existing at the time between Georgia and the Western countries. Take, for instance, the striking kinship of The Man in the Panther’s Skin and Amiran-Darejaniani with the Western chivalrous romances, though the former have their own highly peculiar specificity. Here too is the mission of Georgian culture highlighted. The traditions of Oriental and Western literature are given in these works as a single whole. From the cultural viewpoint, Georgia’s mission is to synthesize the Western and Oriental cultures, presenting them as an integral whole. This is why The Man in the Panther’s Skin can be considered equally the possession both of Western and of Oriental literature. No division or separation is possible here. That is why, Pitareti – that major monument of Georgian architecture – may be classified as an example of Christian architecture as well as that of Eastern architecture. Here elements of Western and Eastern cultures always merged.
This is our vision of Georgia’s cultural mission. Unfortunately, many topics have remained outside of our discussion, for it is impossible to cover everything in one lecture. We shall probably have some more lectures and talks, and it is desirable to provide information about this to the West, for much there remains unknown about Georgian culture and Georgia’s spiritual path. Regrettably coverage hitherto has been given rather to the external aspects of our history and culture, and meetings like this should facilitate further mutual understanding and exchange of knowledge and information.
If the audience wishes I can answer questions. This may render the discussion more interesting. I shall welcome questions around the topics of my talk. Today we shall devote our time to a discussion. of questions dealing only with the present theme.
Question: What is the difference between Georgian (Kartuli) and Kartvelian (Kartveluri)?
As I noted at the beginning, these two terms should be differentiated. To be sure, the difference between Georgian and Kartvelian is not essential, yet there is a difference in shade. Georgian refers to Georgia proper, to everything related to Georgia’s history and language – all that we know from our history and which is within this geographical area. Kartvelian is a much broader and comprehensive notion. Kartvelian are tribes that are not Karts, nor Kartvels (Georgians) proper, but of Kartvelian stock. This may be compared to the relationship of the Semites and Hebrews. Kartvelian is an ethnic conception, being more comprehensive than national. There is Georgian nationality, but Kartvelian people or ethnos, another name for which is Japhetic. It is rather these paleo-Caucasian or Japhetic peoples that may be said to constitute the ethnos. As there exists a Semitic people, so is there a Japhetic one.
This Japhetic people is Kartvelian. The Kartvelian languages stem precisely from this primary Japhetic language which we call proto-Georgian. The separation of the Kartvelian languages from this Japhetic language is assumed to have occurred from the third millennium B.C., as we learn from the book of Gamkrelidze and Ivanov, as well as from Marr’s studies. I shall probably devote a separate lecture to the book just mentioned, but here I should like to note its clear tendency to belittle the role the proto-Georgian world played historically, and which has been dealt with in the studies of a number of scholars. All this is relegated to the background in the book in question, while Indo-European is given prominence. However, the positive side of the book is the dating of the disintegration of the proto-Georgian parent language into separate languages and dialects in the third millennium which, according to my own theory, is related to Ioane-Zosime’s Praise and Glorification of the Georgian Language, which stales that the Georgian people or the Georgian language (language in Ioane-Zosime’s work implies the people as well) “has been dead four days” and “one day totals one thousand years” The death of this language began four days or four thousand years ago, i.e. in the third millennium B.C. Ioane-Zosime uses “death” because the language had lost its old area of diffusion and significance.
This was followed by a Lazarus-like rising from the dead of these people and language, as Ioane-Zosime relates. In his work these people are compared symbolically to Lazarus. It may be said that here is implied not only Georgia but the entire Kartvelian ethnos; to this is related that proto-Georgian or proto-Iberian world which extended from the Iberian Peninsula to India, and – as hypothesized by N. Marr and H. Johnstone – there existed a primordial Basque-Caucasian-Dravidian language – older than the Hamitic parent Language, and the basis of all languages, this being a glottogonic or language-forming phenomenon; it was the primary language of the priests, and in general, the beginning of languages.
Such is Marr’s theory, for which Stalin rebuked him; Marr’s theory was anathematized because it gave an objective interpretation of the prehistoric period and the origin of the Georgian language. Our national movement too has some criticism to level against Marr. True, he did make anti-Georgian statements dictated by political considerations of the day, but his elucidation of the prehistoric period of development of the Georgian language and the Georgian people was very objective and profound. That is why he was denounced in Soviet scholarship under Stalin’s leadership.
Question: What is the role of the peoples of the Kartvelian stock in the development of Christianity?
The peoples of the Kartvelian stock play a major role in the development of Christianity. The Semitic peoples played the principal role in paving the way for Christianity in the period of the Old Testament, while in Christianity proper – in its development Kartvelian and Indo-European peoples play the main part. The ancient Greeks are related, as you know, to peoples of Indo-European origin. Ioane-Zosime’s Praise -and Glorification, tells us that the two sisters – Mary and Martha – may be compared to Nino and Queen Helen. Nino is a symbol of the Kartvelian people and of Georgian Christianity, whereas Helen is a symbol of Greek Christianity, the relationship of Mary to Nino being the same as that of Martha to Helen. As you know, Mary is a symbol of mystic contemplation – a symbol of mystic theology, or esoteric Christianity, whereas Martha is a symbol of the intellectual, rational path – a symbol of dogmatic Christianity which developed rather in Greece; In other words, representatives of the Georgian ethnos in Christianity tend to follow the path of mysticism and esoteric theology. Take, for example, Dionysius the Areopagite, or Peter the Iberian, Saint Nicholas Thaumaturge, and Saint George himself – all are representatives of the Kartvelian ethnos. This is how Lazarus becomes linked, as a symbol, to the Georgian people. As we know, Lazarus is John not only in spiritual science, but a number of Western exegetes identify Lazarus with John. Incidentally, this identification is clearly seen in Georgian folklore too; there exists here a folk cult of Lazarus which is the god of rain, the same as Elijah; thus Georgian folklore identifies Elijah with Lazarus.
John-Lazarus is the symbol of the Georgian language, the Georgian people that must rise after this four-day death-like sleep. This is Ioane-Zosime’s message in his Praise and Glorification of the Georgian Language.
Question: What is, in your opinion, the relationship between Kartlos and Haos?
It should be said, inter alia, that Leonti Mroveli’s work, as well as others of the kind, reflect profound esoteric wisdom. He states that both Kartlos and Haos are descendants of Japheth, that they had one progenitor, and that the Japhetic people are the ancestors of Haos or the primary ethnos from which the present-day Armenian nation stems.
The latter ethnos was very closely related to the primary Georgian ethnos, hence comes the story of the brotherhood of Haos and Kartlos. I do not think that we are here dealing with seniority, for this is a very ancient epoch, and it is extremely difficult to determine the period when the Armenian ethnos took shape as a separate nation. In this connection, the seventh-sixth centuries B.C. are named as the time of the advent of the Armens in Hayasa. This is the first country very closely related to the Colchian world; thus, it is well known from the specialist literature that Old Armenian or Grabar has preserved Laz and proto-Georgian roots, and that proto-Georgian played a major role in the development of this language. This is noted, e.g. by the well-known Armenian scholar C. Toumanoff. Hence Marr believed Armenian to be a semi-Japhetic and semi-Indo-European language because it contains elements of both. This gives rise to the idea of the ancient kinship and unity, as found in Leonti Mroveli.
Question What is the relationship of the Basque and Georgian worlds?
About Basque and Georgian I can say that Basque is – like Georgian – a proto-Iberian language, but they have been separated from each other for great periods of time and have been developing separately so long as to render the establishment of their genetic relationship difficult. This relationship is being established rather by means of place names, separate phrases, and forms, as well as by the cultural-historical comparative method. Today Basque and Georgian do not scorn to be genetically related languages; however, this does not mean that the Basque and Georgian worlds did not form a single whole in antiquity. As I have said, this was one people, one race, and one language, but later Basque assumed such individuality that today scholars even find it hard to establish genetic relationship. There exists a different approach, based as I have said – on Humboldt’s well-known work on Basque. The work has not been translated into Georgian and, by the way, it is being boycotted; for definite reasons the study has always been ignored, but it is our task to have it translated into Georgian and circulated in the country, so that the Georgians might learn of their real origin. As you know, Western science has no greater authority than Humboldt; however, according to the latest studies of modern Kartvelologists (Jan Braun, and others), the view is gaining ground on Basque being a fourth Kartvelian language.
Question: What relation is there between Lazarus and the Georgian language?
In Ioane-Zosime the raising of Lazarus implies the raising of the Georgian nation, and not only of the Georgian people but of the entire Georgian ethnos in its distribution in the prehistoric period, i.e. to the time of Lazarus’ falling asleep, or the third millennium B.C., when this ethnos diminished, being decimated by the Indo-Europeans; it survived only in the Iberian peninsula, Asia Minor, and the Caucasus. The raising will again revive this nation, when it will regain the position it held in the prehistoric period – a leading position, the position of mankind’s spiritual teacher. This is implied in Ioane-Zosime’s statement to the effect that on the Judgment Day God will judge all the languages through this language. And this means that the Georgian people will be the chief bearer of spirituality, i.e., Christianity, and that it will judge the sinful humankind.
Question: What relation is there between Prometheus and Amirani?
Amirani must be a later name of Prometheus. We lack evidence to prove that in prehistoric times Prometheus was called Amirani. In Georgia, Amirani (‘Amir’) is related to the advent of Persian culture in Georgia. Amiran Darejanisdze (Amir andare jehan – “ruler of the country”) is a Persian term.
In general, the extant version of the folk legend on Amirani must be of later origin. The prehistoric myth of Amirani found reflection in the Georgian folk tradition, but the name is altered. The name Amirani is obviously of Persian provenance, and it does not seem to reflect the identity of this character. In the proto-historic period the hero must have had an older, proto-Georgian correspondence. Generally speaking, it was not only such personages that had proto-Georgian correspondences. Take, e.g. the derivation of the eponym “Kardu” of the Georgians. It is the name of the mountain that was called Kardu – the name of a Babylonian god. Mountains were given the names of gods, Kardu being the name of Ararat, called Nisir in the Sumerian period. Neither these place names nor characters bear old names any longer. And I am convinced, this hero referred to as Prometheus, was not called Amirani; the latter name must have been given to him in the Middle Ages.
Question: What could you say about the relationship of the Abkhazian and Georgian languages?
As you know Adyghe and other Caucasian languages are of Iberian-Caucasian origin; there is a genetic relationship between those languages and Georgian, there also is a genetic relationship between the Karvelian languages too. The Abkhazians fail to understand this, hence this ethnic strife. Their origin is indeed Ibero-Caucasian, and had they knowledge of their descent they might have never started such conflicts with their kindred nation. In general, the peoples of the Northern Caucasus are genetically related, and so are heir languages. This has been thoroughly researched by our celebrated scholar Arnold Chikobava, and Iberian-Caucasian linguistics and Ibero-Caucasian peoples were his favourite terms. By the way, this means that Ibero-Caucasian is not exclusive in the Iberian world; there is, e.g. Iberian of the Pyrenees, and so on; thus, lberian-Caucasian is only one part of the Iberian world that comprises the North-Caucasian peoples too.
Question: In what relation is Mazdeanism to the Georgian spiritual world?
Historically, the Georgian nation has been in contact with many cultures and religions, and there are indications that at a definite period the Mazdeanic cult was practised here: the cult of the goddess Anahita, and many other cults. However, this was not leading or essential in our spiritual culture. Thus, it is still problematic whether the Armazian culture was Zoroastrian, and whether it had anything in common with Zoroastrian culture and Mazdeanisrn. Nor has the kinship of Ahura Mazda and Armazi been demonstrated.
Question: What is anthroposophy?
Anthroposophy is a spiritual science in modern Europe – a science of the spirit, spread in Western countries. As I have said, it is a Christian movement, viz. Michael’s Christianity. I should note, however, that some people erroneously take anthroposophy for a religion. It is not a religion or confession but a cognitive trend. Hence the opposition – heard occasionally – of Orthodoxy to anthroposophy is wrong. This is the same as opposing Orthodoxy to a follower of Hegel. The point is that anthroposophy has no confessional claims; it is a cognitive path.
True, in the West there does exist a religious community – its outgrowth; but Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy, was not a creator of a new religion or confession. He was a follower of Christ and Christianity, and the creator of a new cognitive form of Christianity. So there should not be a confusion of terms here. As I mentioned above, there are many branches of anthroposophic science: anthroposophic medicine, biology, pedagogy. In particular, anthroposophic medicine played an outstanding role here in the treatment of those poisoned on 9 April when these patients failed to respond to the treatment prescribed by traditional physicians and to drags, representatives of anthroposophic medicine arrived with remedies, developed in their school, which saved many persons.
I should like to add also that in one of his lectures R. Steiner ranks the Orthodox cult much higher than its Catholic counterpart. I can cite the relevant passage from the lecture. In general, Steiner was closely connected with Orthodox philosophy, particularly with the philosophy of Vladimir Solovyov, considering him – an Orthodox philosopher – as one of his forerunners. In his cycle of lectures, read in 1922 and entitled. “Super-sensible Influences in the History of Mankind”, Steiner says: “In the Catholic church the cult and ritual are rather of the character of symbols to be viewed by the eye, whereas in the Eastern Orthodox church it is something that reaches the soul with the profoundest reverence”. Thus, he sharply differentiates these two cults from each other, himself tending rather to the Orthodox cult as being more congenial to him. This is seen also from the lectures he delivered at Oxford, in which he speaks of the profound esoterism in the Eastern Church, or the mysterious doctrine owned by the Church. As I noted earlier, in the East esoterism was not divorced from exoterism, whereas in the West it was, with attendant conflicts and persecution of exoterism – something never occurring in the Eastern Orthodox world.
Question. What is the origin of the Grail?
The etymology of the Grail stems from old Provencal, and probably, by its root from the Cappadocian term gratsal; and generally speaking, the Grail movement was also the creation of the Kartvelian ethnos. The Cappadocian ethnos, which was the same as Kartvelian or proto-Iberian ethnos, was the principal founder of the Grail movement. Titurel – the first owner of the Grail, was a Cappadocian by nationality, i. e. of Kartvelian origin.
The mention of the Cappadocians on Pentecost, the day of the descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts of the Apostles 2.10), is far from accidental. The Cappadocians were present at the descent of the Holy Spirit, and the mission of the Grail is that of the Holy Spirit – a symbol of the Mother of God; the owner of the Holy Spirit. The Grail is a bearer of the Holy Spirit and the Grail is one imbued with the grace of the Holy Spirit, The Grail movement or the Grail Christianity was created precisely by the Iberian peoples. It was created first in Cappadocia, and later in Provence and Languedoc, populated largely by peoples of Iberian and Celt-Iberian race. The Celt-Iberians were the same Iberians by origin, with whom the Celts merged at a later period. The migration of the Celts began in the third century B.C., continuing later too. The Celt-Iberian ethnos took shape later, yet it was of Iberian origin. The Celtiberian people too were linked to Cappadocia, and it was from Cappadocia – this Meskhian or Moschian, and Zan land – that the Grail Christianity and movement came. Incidentally, in Kartli there is a village named Grakali. Inasmuch as the initial name of this bowl was ratsal, Grakali and ratsal are obviously related words, and this place must be connected with the Grail. I am deeply convinced of the reference to the Grail in Shavteli’s Odes, in which it is defined as “a bowl of graces, for the purification of the people”.
As you know, the Grail is a bowl; it is mentioned in Georgian folklore, namely in Connection with the campaign of Saint George hero of Georgian folklore – in Kajaveti together with Kopala and Iakhsar; from there St. George brings back a howl which, I am fully convinced, is the Grail. Thus, the descent of St. George into the nether world is connected with the bringing back of the Grail; in other words, this is a symbol of initiation. It is in this way that the Grail became linked to Georgian culture, folklore, and history. The principal motifs of the Gelati mural paintings are connected with the Grail. The child Jesus, held by the Gelati Virgin, bears an imprint of the Grail on his forehead, pointing to the closest link of the Grail with Georgian culture. As for The Man In the Panther’s Skin, it may be said to be a poem of the Grail because the Grail’s symbols are synonyms treasure, precious stones and pearls, philosophers’ stone and a virgin, i.e. the rescuing of a virgin from captivity in the nether world is the same as retrieving the Grail. In this case, the maiden embodies the anima or the soul and the release of the anima from the dragon’s captivity is precisely the aim of initiation. This is given in The Man In the Panther’s Skin, for in it is depicted the path of heroic initiation. Allegorically, chivalry is in general related to initiation, being its institution; hence its principal aim was the descent into the nether world and the retrieval of the Grail, or the rescuing of the holy principle from the bondage of evil powers.
Question: How is it proved that the Pelasgians and the Sumerians were not Indo-Europeans?
This is proved by linguistic evidence. In the first place, the eminent Georgian scholar M. Tsereteli has demonstrated that the Sumerians were not Indo-Europeans, and that today only Kartvelian languages are related to Sumerian. The Indo-European languages are not related to these languages. As far the Pelasgians, Herodotus and other Greek histodans point out directly that they were Iberians.
Question: What relation was there between the Irish and Georgian Iberians?
The relationship of the Irish Iberians and the Georgian Iberians was very strong. In his work, Humboldt speaks of the migration of the Iberians to Ireland, and Northern Europe. He clearly distinguishes them from the southern Iberians who were autochthons, whereas there took place a migration to the North-Ireland, Britain, and elsewhere, with the establishment or Colonies. The Picts – the earliest population of Ireland descended from the Iberians.
Question: Who were the Albanians?
It appears from Kartlis Tskhovreba (“History of Georgia”) that the Caucasian Albanians too were Kartvelian tribes. They are the ‘Berda’ in Nizami Ganjevi’s works… By the way, it is not accidental that Nizami linked the image or Queen Tamar with Berda…
Question. Is there any link between Lazia and Lazarus?
It can only be hypothesized that the stems are related; Lazarus and Laz, lapis lazuli, denoting azure; azure and blue are the color of Ioane-Lazarus; in general all this may be in some relationship… The murals of Betania Church of Tamar’s time, dedicated to Lazarus, are done in blue colors, which cannot but have a profound esoteric meaning.
Question: What have the Hittites to do with Georgia?
There are place names related to the Hittites in Georgia. This means that the homeland of the Hittites was here. There were migrations of peoples, hence the numerous related place names. In general, the Hittiles were Indo-Europeans, not belonging to peoples of Kartvelian provenance.
Question: What can you tell us about Niko Marr and The Man in the Panther’s Skin?
Marr entertained very contradictory views on The Man in the Panther’s Skin; and, in general, great men occasionally commit great errors. He erred with regard to The Man in the Panther’s Skin, but then he corrected his errors, and advanced highly significant views regarding the poem. Initially believing it to be a translated work, he intended to discover the original in the British Museum; failing in this, he later changed his view. Most importantly, Marr was the first to demonstrate the existence of an organic relationship between the world of The Man in the Panther’s Skin and that of the Western chivalrous romance – and in general Western courtly poetry. He also pointed out the similarity of The Man in the Panther’s Skin to the troubadours of Provence and other monuments of chivalrous culture in general. Giving a strong indication of this, Marr left behind a highly valuable study entitled: The Cut of Woman in the Man in the Panther’s Skin. As for the idea of Rustaveli having been a Muslim, for some time Marr did entertain it, but this was because he failed to explain Rustaveli’s supra-religious occumenism. Rustaveli unites, as it were, all cults and religions in his poem. Generally speaking, The Man in the Panther’s Skin is a syncretic work – not eclectic, that is bringing different elements together without connection, but syncretic, giving various elements in unity. The poem in question is a synthesis of Classical and Christian wisdom, a synthesis of esoteric wisdom; a new synthesis of the paths of Classical and Christian initiation is presented in the language of a new literary mythos. That is why many researchers perceived separate doctrines or confessions in it, which subsequently failed to be substantiated. Today the view prevails which holds that it is a Christian work and the author was a Christian – a Christian in a broad sense who occumenically unites the achievement of different religions in his Weitanschauung.
Thus, the poem contains astrological and astrosophical ideas, ideas of Classical mysteries, a quatrain on the “sunny night”, and so on. All this suggests that Rustaveli had a profound knowledge of the ancient culture of mysteries, synthesizing it in his work. Initially, Marr failed to see this. He considered Rustaveli a Muslim because the Koran figures in the poem, and the characters swear their oaths on the Koran. But this was because the action of the poem was conventionally transferred to the Oriental, Muslim world, where no other book than the Koran could be mentioned. However, Avtandil’s prayer is Christian, although he seems to pray in a mosque. Similarly, in their actions and character the personages are Christians representatives of the Christian world. ‘Arab’ and ‘Indian’ do not refer to nationality in the poem, the usage being symbolic. The countries in The Man in the Panther’s Skin do not constitute geographical or historical reality. Here we are dealing with allegorical geography and history.