This Could Almost Have Come From The Upanishads

“Were one of us to love the good itself, which is wholly good, as eagerly as we all habitually love one good thing after another, though none of these is good without the good itself, such a man would undoubtedly always experience at least as much good and joy as we now constantly all experience evil and pain. In fact joy would be far stronger than this real anguish of ours and sweeter than our usual pleasure; just as the substance of the good itself is more powerful than evil and truer than the image of goodness, and as the pure mind is more clearsighted than the impure.

Now why should we be surprised if all evils pursue us, when we ourselves, abandoning the first good, namely God, wrongly pursue individual things as good, when all these things, without the first good, are evil. We deservedly fall into every evil, albeit against our will , every time we wilfully fall from that which is wholly good. Why do we mindlessly and miserably stray hither and thither for so long? Certainly, all the time we are pursuing merely one thing after another, we are running away from the One itself, which is everything. But he who simply pursues the One itself, in that One soon attains everything. Without a doubt the mind, which depends solely upon that which is above all things, can attain all things. Thus man alone among living beings has recieved the power to acheive whatever he wishes, provided that he desires above all to pursue in whatever he wishes that which alone is good.”
From the Letters of Marsilio Ficino Volume 4 translated by the Language Department of the School of Economic Science, London.

I am immediatly reminded of the opening of the Isa Upanishad which is something along the lines of :

“Behold the Glory of God in the Universe. Forsaking what is merely transient fix yourself upon the eternal.”

Ficino is, of course, reiterating the Platonic argument about transcendent and eternal ideals of which mankind is a poor copy, but the similarity is still striking nevertheless.


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