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Fragments of a Faith Forgotten by G.R.S. Mead (Buy this book at

iii. From the Letter to Agathōpus.

Concerning the One of the Powers of the Perfect man.The "free utterance," or perfect expression, of the Alone Good can only be manifested by the man made perfect. Such a man was Jesus. Thus we find Valentinus writing to Agathōpus as follows:

"It was by his unremitting self-denial in all things that Jesus attained to [lit., gained by working] godship; he ate and drank in a peculiar manner, without any waste. The power of continence was so great in him, that his food did not decay in him, for he himself was without decay."

It is said that the physical body can be gradually accustomed to less and less nutriment, and innumerable cases are on record in the East of holy ascetics who have been able to support life on incredibly small quantities of food. The "power" described above by Valentinus is one of the siddhis mentioned in every treatise on yoga in India, and in the Upanishads we read that "very little waste" is one of the first signs of "success in yoga." We are also told that in the highest stages, after the particles of the body have been entirely refined and made to obey the higher will of the ascetic, a body of a still higher grade of matter can be gradually substituted; and apparently some such ideas as these (together with other notions) lay behind the doctrine of docetism which was an integral part of the Gnosis.

p. 303

[paragraph continues] Clement himself also shared like views, and so did some other Fathers.

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