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On Manichaeism


On 14th April, 216 AD a boy was born in Babylon who at the age of 23 came to call himself the last prophet among a long line of prophets which included Adam, Noah, Jesus, Buddha, and Zarathustra. His name was Mani. He traveled from Syria to India, (even met and managed to convert the king of Makran, now Baluchistan), wrote books unfolding his cosmology which really is more complex than the plot of Game of Thrones. Between 3rd and 8th centuries, miraculously, his religion Manichaeism, became widely popular in a large swath of area -from Spain and North Africa to Southern coasts of China. Its spread over the Eurasian landmass only rivals that of Islam and Christianity and its success was in fact more remarkable in that it was achieved without military conquest. Here are the commandments of Manichaeism: the honor of Fasting, Prayer, and Almsgiving; the honor of the commandment that we kill not, that we eat no flesh, that we make ourselves pure; and the honor of the commandment of blessed poverty, humility, and kindliness. It also prohibits blasphemous speech, eating of meat, and drinking of alcohol. Another interesting fact: their annual festival was preceded by a month of fasting from sunrise to sunset.

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