Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation homepage > Notebooks of Paul Brunton

Pythagoras made a somewhat exaggerated fetish of esotericism and went to great lengths to keep his teachings unknown to the multitude. Consequently most of them were not written down until many years after his death, when so many of his disciples had been so dispersed or had died that to avoid the total disappearance of his philosophy some of them recorded it for the first time. These writings in the course of a few generations came easily to be misunderstood. Even Porphyry, who lived so long ago as the third century, and so near to Pythagoras, wrote, "This primary philosophy of the Pythagoreans finally died out first because it was enigmatical, and then because their commentaries were written in Doric, which dialect itself is somewhat obscure so that Doric teachings were not fully understood, and they became misapprehended and later they who published them no longer were Pythagoreans. . . . When the Pythagoreans died, with them died their knowledge which till then they had kept secret except for a few obscure things which were commonly repeated by those who did not understand them. Pythagoras himself left no book but some little sparks of his philosophy, obscure and difficult, were preserved by the few who were scattered."

-- Notebooks Category 15: The Orient > Chapter 7: Related Entries > # 75

The Notebooks are copyright © 1984-1989, The Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation.