Pythagoras has defined friendship as: a bond of love, attention and selflessness.

Plato has defined friendship as: a soul that is divided in two bodies.

For a real friend is nothing but a brother: of this you must think, and that also a true friend is nobody else but yourself.

One will ask: "But, if I am selfless, what does that mean? That I shall forsake myself for the sake of another? Is that friendship?"

No, the above is not friendship – the power exists in friendship, for the two egos become powerful in themselves and combine into one larger entity. The self is not forsaken, the self is overcome and connected with the self of another.

One thing is also for sure: We are far away from True, Pythagorean friendship. No word in our language, no input of knowledge in our present world, describes this holy and sacred Notion.

Who has the power of true friendship?

And who will be the best friend? The one who will apply all these virtues: For friendship cannot be built as a castle upon the sand, but brotherhood must stand on a firm foundation.

The Historical Parable of a friendship Azazel glorified, is therefore such:

Pythias and Damon were two Pythagorean philosophers in the school of Pythagoras of Samios. Reputed was the Pythagorean School for its superior virtues and the strength of it’s members, ethical and of the heart, mind and spirit above all.

The day came where they would be tested on this more than any other.

One day, the Pythagorean named Pythias was falsely charged and was plotted against for a conspiracy against the king Dionysius I of Syracuse. Thought falsely to be a plotter, Pythias was dragged to the court in front of the Great King.

Strangely, Pythias did not sit to try to convince the King that he was not plotting. He knew that would be almost impossible so he accepted his fate. Knowing he would die, he had however, a final request; Pythias pleaded the Great King to give him some time before his final judgment, so that he could settle his affairs in his life with his wife and children before his voyage towards death.

The king Dionysus I of Syracuse, only loosely having heard of the friendship ethics of the Pythagoreans, knew that the Pythagoreans claimed of Divine friendship. He wanted to see how these two would behave; so the king decided to grant him some time, but only under one condition as to not let him escape: His greatest and lifelong friend Damon would be held hostage and if Pythias did not return after settling his final affairs, then Damon would be executed in the place of Pythias.

Knowing of the friendship of the two, the King knew that Pythias would be held by his conscience to be obligated to come back.

As Damon was innocent, that would be a great punishment to Pythias, who would lose his greatest friend. An innocent man would pay for his life.

Damon loved and trusted his true friend Pythias so much, that he indeed accepted this offer to hand himself in exchange so that his friend could bid his family farewell before his final journey, without trying to even escape. He would give himself hostage willingly to Dionysus of Syracuse, in full belief of his friend’s innocence. He loved Damon so much that he wanted to give him some final time, in exchange for his life.

While the world told him to deny this and that he is insane to even consider this, and that Pythias was guilty and that he would go away, he decided to stand by his friendship. He knew Pythias well, and knew that he would never do something as to plot against a king.

Days elapsed with Damon held as prisoner, and Pythias was not coming back. Day after day was passing, and King Dionysus was losing his patience.

Inside the gloomy and dark cell, Damon was kept locked for a crime he never committed, willingly paying the price for his friend. Eventually the King of Syracuse lost his patience: He was going to head Damon for the execution.

“Bring him to me!”, the King shouted, and guards forcibly escorted him out of the darkness of this cell that was slowly robbing Damon’s sanity and mind. But not for one time he thought that Pythias would not arrive, although the bitter days of him not arriving, were passing him by.

“Your friend has left you, now you will pay the price of your life for his transgression”, the King told Damon. “What a disgrace to die innocent like this, but how more naive were you to put your life on the line for this proclaimed friend of yours!”.

Damon immediately responded: “For that much I love my friend, that I am very happy I will pay this price for him so that he can live in my place: Take my life and allow my friend to be free and live!”.

As the King was shocked by his reply, he asked Damon: “I will accept your request. Yet, are you so willing to lose your life, even if you are innocent, for your friend who is guilty and has left you? What for? What kind of madness has overtaken you to want to give his life for him?”.

“But he is my friend!”, Damon said, to which the King, hiding how puzzled he was, replied with: “I see. Take him to the execution grounds!”.

As Damon was being dragged towards the execution grounds by the guards, he was giving praise to Zeus for giving him the opportunity to save his friend through sacrificing his own life. “Oh Zeus, thank you for allowing me to bless my true friend Pythias in this way. May your Name be blessed in all the worlds and in highest glory! Thank you for this opportunity to prove my friendship and to be admitted among the Gods! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to die and to save my friend with my own death!”.

As the King and Guards heard these, they were baffled. They thought to themselves “Now, that is the definition of a madman and a lunatic!”.

Not before long, Damon was put and tied on the wooden rack to be executed. The Guards were looking at King Dionysius puzzled. “My King, we are ready to execute him. Just give us the order!”, said the guards.

“Wait.”, replied the king in a thoughtful manner. “Let us give him some time so he can see the sun, but you Damon, I have a question for you. As you see, your friend who is guilty is nowhere to be seen. Are you not afraid of death?”. “No,” Damon replied. “I am only thankful that I had this opportunity to do this great deed for my friend. Now, execute me quickly and let him be absolved of his crime!”.

The king was shocked at the response. Then, the King asked again: “Do not you value your life at all? Are you a fool, to die for a dishonest man that has abandoned you?”.

Damon then replied: “Stop saying falsehood for my friend, Great King. Please go ahead and execute me quickly!”.

“So it will happen, for you Damon, you are truly mad”, said the King.

Some time elapsed and the sharpened blades were ready from the guards. Damon was finally positioned for the execution. Ready to finish his life, everyone was waiting to observe the execution.

But from a distance, a voice was heard “Damon, Damon, I am here, Damon! Let go of him! I am here!”. That was the voice of Pythias, who was running as fast as he could towards the execution ground. “Take my life, not his! Let him go!”, shouted Pythias from the bottom of his lungs.

The Guards and Sentries turned their head as they saw a man, almost in a state of insanity, running towards the execution grounds wet from head to toe. Pythias fell on his knees in front of King Dionysius and said “Please my king, release my friend, and take my own life as it should be! I am the guilty one, let me be in his position!”, this is what Pythias saying despite of knowing he was innocent.

“I will plead guilty, just take him off the bed of execution and put me in his place, and kill me quickly and spare his life, let him go free, he is innocent!”.

The King looked at Pythias’s clothes and said: “So you too, appear to be insane like he. Why are your clothes wet, and you are here without sandals, but your tunic is ripped as well?”. Pythias replied: “I was in a shipwreck that happened near Syracuse, and then I had to swim and run all the way here hopefully in time for my execution, my King”.

The King went into a thoughtful state but only for a few seconds, then said loudly: “Untie Damon and put Pythias in his place. Carry on with this execution already. We do not have all day! But first, let them exchange their last words to one another.”.

“NO!!!!” Damon was shouting as he was being untied. “Tie me back in! I am the one who dies today!”.

The King nodded to the sentries to remove Damon from the chains, and Damon, in a dazed state from all his days in prison went running towards Phythias who was untied and said “My brother and friend, I missed you so much, thank you for coming but you should have never come! You should know by default that I have decided that I accepted to be killed. You should have fled, far away from here!”.

Pythias angrily replied back to him: “No, you need longer days, and even if I am innocent, I will die for your sake so you can go back to your family, you have a family too! I did not swim all these endless miles from the shipwreck just to see you die, but only so that I would die in your place! I will take no word in this! Guards, take me right now, not him!”.

As the King watched, he raised his hand up for the guards to hold. The King was curious to see the rest of the events, as the two friends were arguing and attacking each other on who would eventually be the one to die.

The more time they were left there, each was giving the other a different cause and reason on why one should be executed in the place of the other, in anger and in agony. Each constantly tried to convince the king to execute them in the place of their friend. Both were also talking to the guards and tried to appeal to the king for this.

“ENOUGH!” said the King. And both of them stopped immediately. Damon and Pythias were looking at the King puzzled, as if they had forgotten he even exists. “I have decided what I will do to you both.”, the king said with a pause. Damon and Pythias looked to the king, thinking that they would be executed together this time around for the scene they had caused.

“My decision is”, continued the King, that “I will free you both. I will free you because I have never seen a friendship like this, but in one condition!”.

“What is the condition, King Dionysus?”, asked Damon while Pythias looked equally confused.

“The condition is that you will allow me to become a friend among you, because in such a friendship, I see the work of the Gods and I am greatly humbled!”.

Damon and Pythias both refused, as they cited that they were best friends. Pythias continued: “But to accept anyone else in our friendship, would violate our friendship my Lord, so now you might want to kill us both for refusing you and we understand this. We are Pythagorean so we cannot do this for one that is not one of us,”, said Pythias.

The King after thinking on all of this, replied: “I am in no position to sever a friendship that the Gods have created in this way! You are both free to go. And let everyone remember, the judges and the juries, all my Guards, that today they have seen the true miracle of friendship by the hand of the Gods! You have defined friendship for aeons to come! Free, you are, the both of you! And tell me where I can find your master Pythagoras, so that I may become too become his humble student!”.



“Apollonian Ray of Light, King and Lord,

May I become a friend of the Gods,

May I be always a friend of the friends of the Gods,

May I understand the greatest notion of Friendship.

May I become worthy to be called a Friend of the Gods!”

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