THE MYSTERIES OF THE HOLY GRAIL

by Sar Chevalier Amenemes

A legend that has fascinated men of all times is the legend of the Holy Grail or the Sangraal. This object has been described variously, the commonest of these descriptions being that it is a cup or chalice of exceptional beauty. Some have said that the Holy Grail is actually a platter, and one which really looks rather plain and common. Others still have said that it is actually a stone that descended to earth from the heavens. But however differently it is described, everyone agrees that the person who finds it becomes the recipient of great wisdom and powers. To him is endowed a divine or mystical understanding of all the mysteries of the universe. It is also generally agreed that only a person who has a heart that is most pure will be worthy to find the Holy Grail and receive its divine enlightenment.

Much religious significance is attached to the Holy Grail. It is said to be the cup used by Jesus Christ in the Last Supper. It is also the same cup which was filled with the blood of Jesus Christ as he was dying on the Cross. A secret disciple of Jesus named Joseph the Arimathea, who was most trusted and noble, is said to be the one who took the Holy Grail to the place of Christ's crucifixion and who caught in it the holy blood of the Messiah.

 

Later, Joseph took the Grail into a country in the East, together with another legendary object called the Spear of Longinus. This Spear, like the Holy Grail, is also considered sacred and possessed divine powers. It is said to be the very spear which pierced Jesus Christ's side during his crucifixion. Legend has it that the Spear earlier belonged to Alexander the Great and much later, to Adolf Hitler of Germany. It is widely believed that the country to which the Spear and the Grail are brought becomes the world's greatest, most prosperous and powerful.

 

Still according to legend, Joseph the Arimathea later took the Holy Grail from the East back to the West, somewhere in England or in Spain. This also marked the decline of the Eastern civilizations and the rise to glory of the Western civilizations.

 

In England, the Holy Grail is closely associated with the legends of King Arthur. It is in fact significantly related to the establishment of the Round Table by King Arthur's father, King Uther Pendragon. Also figuring prominently in the English Grail stories is Perceval or Parsifal, a knight who is described as childlike, innocent and pure. He devotes himself to the Holy Grail and learns the true meaning of chivalry and its connections with Christianity. In another version of the same story, it is Sir Gawain and not Perceval who searches, not for the Holy Grail, but for the Spear of Longinus.
 
In keeping with common belief, it is always the person with untainted qualities who finds the much sought-after Holy Grail. In the Arthurian legends as retold by Sir Thomas Malory, the chivalrous knight Sir Lancelot sees the Sangraal in a dream but does not find it, because of his adulterous liaison with Queen Guinevere. Perceval also sees it in his visions but does not find it because he has committed one sin. It is only the pure Sir Galahad, son of Sir Lancelot, who finally beholds the Sangraal itself and comes to possess an astounding mystical consciousness of God and the universe beyond the wildest imagination of any human being. Shortly afterwards, Sir Galahad dies.

While the Arthurian legends connected to the Holy Grail are fairly popular, also in existence are not-so-well known myths and legends in other countries concerning the Holy Grail. These legends date as far back as the second century AD. In this era in Persia flourished the Manichees, a group of Christian mystics who believed that Christ was a Sun god and all the religions that existed before him told of the descent of the sun gods on earth. For the Manichees, the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ and its being caught in the Sangraal are symbolical of the descent of the Sun gods on earth, or of the descent of Cosmic Consciousness into the physical plane as personified by the mortal man. The medium through which this descent took place was Jesus Christ, a god-man in whom the merger of the Cosmic and the human, of heaven and earth, of the spirit and the flesh, is perfectly depicted.

 

This descent of the Sun gods on earth was even prophesied by Zoroaster, the founder of Zoroastrianism, in ancient Persia.  According to him, the Sun gods are in a cosmic distance greatly removed from earth, and man does not have the power to reach them. Man can only gaze at the heavens and conjecture that behind the stars themselves and behind the pervasive darkness lies the invisible Spiritual Sun. And so it must be - and it was indeed - the sons of the Sun God who descended on earth to inspirit the whole planet and animate the human species with the spiritual seed of Cosmic Consciousness. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ, or more specifically, the shedding of his blood on earth, symbolizes this descent.  But in more arcane versions of the Manichee legend, it is related that a star, stone or jewel actually fell from the skies into the earth, and this was the real Holy Grail.

 

This event is related to yet another legend, namely the "downfall" of the angel Lucifer. Lucifer descends into the terrestrial realms and thus brings man the light of knowledge. In his descent, he is wearing a "golden crown" which symbolizes a host of other heavenly or angelic beings. The archangel Michael, known as Marduk in ancient times, strikes this crown and out of it comes a spirit of an entirely different kind from Lucifer. This being, an angelic spirit, was one who descended of its own free will, not merely pulled down by the act of "falling." It is the personification of love and compassion, and its descent on earth is intended to help deliver man from ignorance and darkness, and awaken in him true Wisdom and Illumination. This angelic being paved the way for the subsequent coming of the actual Sun gods. It has lived with and among men, finally fashioning itself into the form of a vessel - the Holy Grail - to contain the sacred blood of Jesus Christ.

Thus, as seen from above, various legends depict the Holy Grail in different manners: a cup which contained the holy blood of Christ, a jewel from the heavens that descended on earth, an angelic spirit of love and compassion that works for the salvation of man. Different as these exoteric interpretations may be, they have but one esoteric meaning: the Sangraal is divine or Cosmic Consciousness, symbolical of the mystical union with God, which is the object of man's incessant search. The possessor of this object is exalted above all men. He is granted divine powers and supreme Wisdom. But these gifts can only be attained by one who is pure and noble... one who is guided by untainted and divine intentions...and one who devotes to the holy search an untiring, life-long devotion.

To a cup that is already full, no more can be added.