'Pandora' by John William Waterhouse, 1896.

Pandora, the Goddess who Unleashed both Hell and Hope upon Humanity

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Most people are familiar with the creation of Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis. But the story of mankind’s creation in Greek mythology is probably less well-known, and is arguably darker in tone when compared to Genesis. For a start, men and women were not created at the same time. Men existed before the coming of women, and degenerated over the ages. Moreover, the creation of the first woman, Pandora, was not a gift by the gods to man, but a punishment.

In the Greek myth of creation, as recorded in the Greek poet Hesiod’s Works and Days (8th century BC), there were five ages. The first of these was the Golden Age, where men were immortals and dwelled on Olympus. They were made of gold, and lived like gods. When this age ended, the men became good spirits that watched over mortals. The next age was the Silver Age, where men were made of silver, and still dwelled on Olympus. They were, however, no longer immortal. The following two ages were the Bronze Age and Heroic Age. In the former, men were made of bronze, whilst in the latter, the Earth was populated by the heroes of Greek mythology. Both ages were brought to an end by constant wars. The last age, which is the present one, is the Iron Age, where men toil and suffer all their lives.

The Greek Gods of Olympus. ‘The Induction of Ganymede in Olympus’ by Charles Amédée Philippe van Loo

The Greek Gods of Olympus. ‘The Induction of Ganymede in Olympus’ by Charles Amédée Philippe van Loo ( Wikimedia Commons )

As the myths in Hesiod’s works are not arranged entirely in chronological order, it is difficult to pin down in which age of mankind Pandora was created. The story of Pandora, however, is intricately linked with that of the titan Prometheus, whose tale begins at Mekone, and may perhaps be placed sometime after the Silver Age. It was at this place that Prometheus cut up an ox and divided it into two portions. The smaller portion contained the meat of the animal wrapped up in the ox’s stomach, whilst the larger one had the animal’s bones covered by a layer of glistening fat. Prometheus succeeded in tricking the gods, as they chose the bigger portion, whilst mankind was left with the edible meat.

Enraged by Prometheus’ trickery, Zeus withheld fire from man, so that they could not cook the meat. This prompted Prometheus to steal fire from the gods, resulting in his punishment by being bound in chains, and having an eagle eat his liver, which would grow back in the night. Prometheus was eventually freed by the hero Heracles. Zeus was not contented with punishing Prometheus alone, but decided to punish mankind as well.

‘Prometheus Carrying Fire’ by Jan Cossiers

‘Prometheus Carrying Fire’ by Jan Cossiers ( Wikimedia Commons )

The Gift of Pandora

Zeus fashioned a maiden out of earth and water, and gave her a human voice and strength. Then the gods showered her with gifts. Athena taught her the crafts, Aphrodite bestowed on her “charm about her head” as well as “painful yearning and consuming obsession”, whereas Hermes gave her “a bitch’s mind and a knavish nature”. The maiden was then dressed and adorned by the gods. As the maiden was laden with numerous gifts from the gods, she was called Pandora, literally meaning “All gift”.


Pandora was indeed a sight to behold, though a dangerous one:

Both immortal gods and mortal men were seized with wonder then they saw that precipitous trap, more than mankind can manage. For from her is descended the female sex, a great affliction to mortals as they dwell with their husbands – no fit partners for accursed Poverty, but only for Plenty.

Pandora was then sent by Hermes to Epimetheus, the brother of Prometheus, as a gift. Although Prometheus had warned his brother not to accept any gift from Zeus, Epimetheus had forgotten about the warning, and took Pandora as his wife.

Pandora was a beauty to behold and when he saw her, Epimetheus forgot all the warnings about accepting a gift from Zeus

Pandora was a beauty to behold and when he saw her, Epimetheus forgot all the warnings about accepting a gift from Zeus ( Wikimedia Commons )

Pandora and the Forbidden Box

Zeus, pleased that his trap was working, gave Pandora a wedding gift of a beautiful box. (In Hesiod’s original version, the gift was actually a ‘pithos’ or jar. It was not until the 16 th century, that the word was mistranslated to mean ‘box’.) There was just one very important condition. Pandora was forbidden from opening the jar/box.



By Allama Muhammad Yousuf Gabriel Pakistan

Let this clarion call now be sounded in the world, and let the heavens resound amidst the raging flames of the atomic hell, the logico-scientific result of the Baconian philosophy of modern atomism. And let now this mankind maddened by the anxiety of the affair of the worldly life listen. And let the heads of the States, Business magnates, ministers, scholars, scientists, religious divines lend their ears to its warning and pay heed. Let now the followers of the Baconian philosophy of modern atomism, the dupes of the left-eyes, machine-ridden demon that are engaged in enkindling the atomic hell with their own hands know that the atomic hell with its atomic bombs and the atomic radiations is their abode in this world and they who perish in it deservedly, let them expect the eternal hell of the Hotama to welcome them in the next world to broil them in the flames endlessly, eternally, except those whom the Al-mighty Allah through his mercy wish to be cast out of that hell after a period of punishment. The atomic hell is your abode, you seekers of the infinite progress. You will be roasted alive in the fire of the atomic bomb explosions, both you and your children. All the living species and the plants on earth along with you. If you succeed in avoiding the atomic war in some generations and manage to escape unscathed, then know that your future generations will pay the debt through long-term radio-genetic effects of atomic energy for peace. The atomic hell of the atomic energy for peace will then be not less dreadful than the hell of the atomic bombs, for your grandchildren, who, after a spell of miserable existence o suffering, cancers, diseases and physical and mental deformities, living in the form of chimeras will perish along with all the living species and the plants on earth. The scientist has discovered no protection against the atomic radiation which are inherent in the very nature of the atomic energy. The residents of the districts around the atomic reactors could be given no protection against the floods of radiations in the case of the explosion of the atomic reactor. And the atomic reactors would not only occasionally explode, but every reactor should as a rule and its natural life in explosion after forty years. Bu imagine not the state of the atomic energy at present, but rather think of the time in future when every installation and machine from the power house to the private car will be fitted with its own reactor. Then the explosions of the reactors will be like bone fire all over the earth. The experiment of atomic energy on the principle of research cum utility means the employment of the real species as guinea pigs in a universal experiment so dangerous and hazardous as that of the atomic energy. Open up your drowsy eyes and stuffed ears and look and hear and fear.
The Baconian philosophy of modern atomism, of which today the entire mankind is the follower, is radically opposed to every revealed religion. It is anti Christian, and anti Islamic, anti- Hinduism, anti -Buddhism andante Judaism. The attainment of man’s dominion over nature for material utility through continuous, systematic and endless research of science as the actual business of man on earth is the design of Bacon’s philosophy of modern atomism. On this principle is based the modern, continuous, systematic, ever-increasing, ever-expanding progress, and it is as the result of this kind of progress that the atomic energy and the atomic bomb has appeared. Now which of the religions ever allows such a progress without at the same time signing its own death warrant, for, such a progress, infinite and ever-increasing as it is, gradually occupies more and more of the mind and the time of man, supplanting by and by, thought and deed of religion till eventually the thought of religion and the next world is completely expelled from the mind of man, though this world may be consumed by the atomic hell before such a stage has arrived. Let, however, the notion that some kinds of compatibility is possible between the religion and this modern philosophy of atomism or its progress, be expelled from the mind of those religious people who are the victims of such a misunderstanding. Either faith or this modern science and its progress shall remain. Remember the atomic hell is the logical and scientific end of the Baconian Philosophy of modern atomism and its peculiar modern progress. Either taste it or leave it. No religion will ever claim such teachings as plunge its followers into such a tragic end. What other argument is now needed for anyone than the most glaring presence of the atomic hell which only those blinded by the gravity of the impending doom of the atomic hell can miss. This progress will continue to increase and the energy will be the need. Atomic energy inspite of grievous hazards will be adopted and the world will be plunged into the atomic hell. What possibility is of any compromise between this progress and religion if this be the case. And unfortunately it is not possible to apply a break to this progress at particular point. It must expand infinitely to its final entropy that is destruction through atomic hell.
And listen you mistaken mankind. You might profess any religion, believe in it, and practice its rites. Yet you are in the practical sense of the word of the followers of Baconian philosophy of atomism, the ideal antagonist of religion. This adherence to this modern infinite progress will move you gradually away from your religion, and only the blind will fail to observe the truth of this tragic fact. What was the state of your religion a decade ago? What it is today? You can anticipate its state on tomorrow. And remember, derive my light from the scriptures, but to you of this age I will meet on your own a ground, the ground of this age, that is of science and logic. If I say you will gradually lose your faith, it means that you will also lose peace, prosperity, content and life. Sufferings, afflictions, miseries will be your lot brought to you by the modern philosophy of atomism, and your love for this world. Dread at least this consequence if you find yourself helpless in the claws of the modern circumstances and find it difficult to remember your religion.
And fear the eternal atomic hell of the next eternal world, prepared for those who will deservedly perish in the atomic hell of this present world. There could not be a mistake greater than to entertain the hopes of the infinite progress of this kind, for it may end up any moment in the atomic war. Nor is the sense of the durability of those strong, universal monuments of the achievements of science. Based on sound grounds, for they could disappear in a matter of minutes in the event of atomic conflagration. And even if the atomic war is evaded for some time, the horrible end of this world through atomic radiations in the case of the atomic energy for peace is certain.
Man has wanted to gain power over nature, but has forgotten his own limitations. The moment he has touched the nuclear parts of matter, nature has revolted at this trespass and in an exasperated mood wants to punish the outrage of man. The end is there now. Man now stands entangled in the net. He can neither advance nor retreat. Nuclear science is making little advancement. Atomic radiations are not lending themselves to the control of man. The present day economico-industrial set up so vital to the subsistence of men needs energy. Energy is not there excepting the atomic energy that has incident on it dreadful hazards. The conqueror of nature is caught in a queer situation. They among the followers of religions, who think that the material manipulation of the works of God is what is meant by the appeals for the contemplation of the works of Good in the books of their religions, are grievously mistaken. The contemplation of the works of God is for the Glorification of God and the realization of the fact of resurrection and has to do nothing with man’s dominion over nature. Not this world but the next world is the main consideration of man according to the revealed religion. Destruction through atomic annihilation is a dreadful thing but more dreadful is the fact that they who will perish in the atomic hell of this temporal world deservedly, should await their welcome by the Hotamic hell of the next eternal world, for, the causes for the punishment of the Hotamic hell of the next world and those of the appearance of the atomic hell of this world are identical.
This age inspite of its great stores of knowledge is quite ignorant of nuclear science, the subject on which now is staked the future destiny of not only the human race but the entire life on this planet. The masses as well as the non-scientist scholars all over the world are all utterly scholars are all ignorant of the subject, unable to tell the detail of atom from its head. Among the nuclear scientists there are but few who can claim to know all that knowledge of the subject available at this time, which in itself is too meager, too elementary and too complex, yet is enough to establish the hazards of atomic energy. No control is there on the atomic radiations. No sure cure for radiation sickness is discovered and none is in sight. And this age inspite of its great production is poor. The more is produced, the more is demanded and consumed. The sense of poverty is in every mind and no contentment. Human race now appears like the flocks of locust. The goal of self-sufficiency breaths more and more sense of deficiency with advancement. Observe also that religious nations try to implement the principles of religion in this age and they find themselves entangled in the net of the prevailing circumstances of the progress of the Baconian philosophy of modern atomism and the modern culture. Thwarted in their attempts they sigh in disappointment and sit back for the time being, without ever thinking of the causes of the trouble to be thwarted once again in their similar attempts by the similar causes. Yet with the lapse of time the problem will gain more and more difficulty. For the causes of the difficulty are on the increase day by day. A time will, however, come that they will realize the basis of the trouble and then they may walk in the right direction and with a single mind.
And lastly let it be known, that although he Gospel of Jesus Christ has contained all those teachings which if truly abided by would annul the possibility of the appearance of either the atomism or the atomic hell in the world, yet the modern atomism and its outcome the atomic hell has received full, complete and minute treatment in the Quran. It might come as no little surprise to the mankind of today that the Quran fourteen centuries ago has given full treatment to the modern atomism and its product the atomic energy in a prophetic warning, characterizing the philosophy of modern atomism, and characterizing the atomic energy and the atomic bomb, in most scientific manner indeed that would be the wonder and delight of an Einstein, a Fermi, a Rutherford or a Chadwick and a Russell. It is astonishing to observe that the Quran has given such characteristics of the atomic energy as distinguish and differentiate it from other kinds of energy, chemical, electrical or gravitational. The characterization of the philosophy of modern atomism have been given in a most precise manner by the Quran as causes of the appearance of the atomic hell, that is the atomic energy and its offspring the atomic bomb. It is worth note that the Quran has obliterated with one stroke the modern atomism, the modern infinite progress, the atomic energy and the atomic bombs. And for the knowing nuclear scientist is but to endorse the characterization of the atomic energy by the Quran, for the characterization in question is so conspicuous, so matter of fact and so exactly in correspondence with the scientific characterization of the atomic energy by the doubt. This is the true, effective the only effective neutralizer of the atomic bomb and the only queller of the impending atomic catastrophe. It is the only true guidance to avoid the atomic pit and the only ray of hope for the distressed mankind in the otherwise utter darkness and dismay. My head bows before the Al-Mighty Allah, the Merciful Lord of the worlds with gratitude. It was to lot that He cast this singular honour of making this discovery in the Quran for the guidance of his creatures. Again it has been through His un-abounding mercy that I succeeded in bringing to completion a work ranging over about fourteen hundred pages treating the scientific and philosophic side of the prophecy in question, in two volumes, named as “Atomic hell series”. It is a lengthy, painful story to describe the toil and labour, sorrows and sufferings, anxieties and afflictions, continued absorption, engrossment, and prepossession, sacrifices and privations that was my lot during this heart-breaking and blood-curdling ordeal employing most of my life. Not this entire world, but heed to the warning that I have sounded, and the discernment of the truth which I have pointed out is a befitting reward for an enterprise of such nature. To me this present today appears like a counterpart of Dante’s Divine Comedy. It has to be named. However, as Bacon’s secular tragedy. This is a world in which the inhabitants are condemned to a peculiar kind of drudgery, continually perpetually, mechanically, yet drifting to a point where it will blaze up into atomic hell to consume all life on earth.
Dated 11th September, 1979.
Allama Muhammad Yousuf Gabriel
Yousuf Gabriel Foundation Pakistan
Quaid e Azam Street Nawab Abad Wah Cantt Distt Rawalpindi Pakistan

Pandora means Gifted by Our God and is a Bulgarian name. BaNa DaRa is the original Bulgarian pronunciation. Later on it became Pandar and this word is still in use in today Bulgarian language as a Golden Coin Gifted to young brides. One or many coins made in a necklace are usually given to brides on the wedding day as a remembrance of God' gift to Pandora. The story of Pandora curiosity is very much the story of Eve' s curiosity. Ancient Bulgarians' myth of creation narrate all the same story around the world wherever Ancient Bulgarians moved on after the Biblical flood in Black sea. Also the four ages of Human development repeat themselves in Hinduist as well as in Hellenistic sacred texts. The knowledge is one and the same and comes from Ancient Bulgarian spirituality the first human spirituality of our enlightened ancestors.

Pandora means Gifted by Our God and is a Bulgarian name. BaNa DaRa is the original Bulgarian pronunciation. Later on it became Pandar and this word is still in use in today Bulgarian language as a Golden Coin Gifted to young brides. One or many coins made in a necklace are usually given to brides on the wedding day as a remembrance of God' gift to Pandora. The story of Pandora curiosity is very much the story of Eve' s curiosity. Ancient Bulgarians' myth of creation narrate all the same story around the world wherever Ancient Bulgarians moved on after the Biblical flood in Black sea. Also the four ages of Human development repeat themselves in Hinduist as well as in Hellenistic sacred texts. The knowledge is one and the same and comes from Ancient Bulgarian spirituality the first human spirituality of our enlightened ancestors.

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Morgain's picture

The meaning is All Gifts, or All Giving.
PAN = All, every, whole, all-inclusive
DORA = Gifts, giving. from Dorothea (Dorothy), Theodora, gift from God, gift of the Gods.

The myth is a bitter one, hostile to women, parodying older myths where female images of divinity hold jars or containers of abundant foods and other delights. The container itself is a symbol of femaleness, the necked womb.

Curiosity is the fount of intelligence and wisdom. Many or most of the early human technologies were invented by women.  The very first tool was probably a carrier bag, made of grasses, for carrying gathered food (vegetables, roots, nuts, fruits). Lined with clay, used for fire carrying, this created the first pots. Cooking employed containers. Water and food needed containers for porterage, and fire also was carried in clay lined baskets. Water and fire is usually traditionally carried by women. Many societies believe that women are stronger at carrying things, perhaps by analogy with pregnancy. Certainly female stamina is greater, as male strength is designed for high energy short bursts.

A repressive ideology which aims to keep people subservient and slavish typically trains fear of sex, women, and curiosity. Showing the beauty of a woman as treacherous is a typical slavemaster trick. It divides men from women so each are weakened. It removes the joy of sex which strengthens mind and body and spirit.
A similar tale is told in old Wales, of Blodeuedd, the Lady made of Flowers. Like Pandora, she is constructed to be a delight to her husband because of her beauty. But given no choice in her fate, she feels no loyalty to her husband, and betrays him with a lover, and helps her lover kill the husband. The tale metes out vengeance but the (magically resurrected) husband is left bleakly alone and infertile. The moral is that making women into dolls is dangerous, and backfires on the wannabe masters.

Prometheus was a blazing pioneer of rebellion and freedom, later reframed as Lucifer. Again the master class attempt to make him a dire warning of agonising penalty if we dare attempt to win power and technology for ourselves. That may mean a new message now as we face global warming. But note also how the people's hero Heracles rescues Prometheus.
Note also the key reason Epimetheus brings Pandora's terrible gifts into the world is because he is simply stupid, and ignores his brother's warning. He does not look at what he is doing.

A profound question presented by Pandora's legend is what is the nature of Hope?
A simple reading is that Hope is the beautiful balancing power which offsets disease, poverty, war. There is always Hope. Yet hope is cruel and forces us to go on suffering and feeling what we suffer. To switch off, to go unfeeling, to give up hope, is far less painful and can be a way to survive. yet again if we lose hope, we eventually die, as they knew in WWII camps.
Whether we feel Pandora's gift Hope is her greatest kindness or the final and greatest cruelty by Hermes, depends on the person, and on the moment. It can be either, and no fixed answer can hold for long.

Shan Morgain www.mabinogistudy.com


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