The text emphasizes the importance of living in an upright way within and without, explaining that one should act and speak justly, treating others with respect and understanding, and to overcome and “vanquish” passions such as anger, sloth, and gluttony. The text explains that one should “do that which will not afflict thee afterwards, nor oblige thee to repentance.”2
Lines 40-46 of The Golden Verses describe a retrospection practice that can be done at the end of each day where one examines all of their “actions of the day.” The text explains that one should look into where they have “done amiss,” and if they have done something wrong, they should feel remorse for it (explained as “reprimanding” oneself in this translation, and described as feeling remorse or repentance in another translation).3 Similarly, the text mentions that if one has done good, to rejoice.
The text goes on to say that one should meditate on and practise this upright way of being, because it will put one “in the way of divine virtue.”
Never suffer sleep to close thy eyelids, after thy going to bed,
Till thou hast examined by thy reason all thy actions of the day.
Wherein have I done amiss? What have I done? What have I omitted that I ought to have done?
If in this examination thou find that thou hast done amiss, reprimand thyself severely for it;
And if thou hast done any good, rejoice.
Practise thoroughly all these things; meditate on them well; thou oughtest to love them with all thy heart.
Tis they that will put thee in the way of divine virtue.
~The Golden Verses, 40-46, Selected and arranged by Florence M. Firth4
Please note, more practice excerpts will be added as and when we find them. While we recommend the practice in this excerpt, featuring a passage from a text does not mean we can vouch for the entire contents of a text.
Jenny Resnick, Jordan Resnick, and Justin Norris, contributed research and writing to this article.
“The Golden Verses of Pythagoras.” Selected and arranged by Florence M. Firth, Index. Accessed April 19, 2018. http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/gvp/index.htm.
“THE GOLDEN VERSES OF PYTHAGORAS.” Selected and arranged by Florence M. Firth, Line 29. Accessed April 19, 2018. http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/gvp/gvp03.htm.
“The Golden Verses of Pythagoras.” Universal Theosophy. 1707. Translated by Nicholas Rowe. Accessed April 23, 2018. http://www.universaltheosophy.com/sacred-texts/golden-verses-of-pythagoras/.