Part II


On his journey to the Far Away he must surmount many obstacles and dangers and outwit the Scorpion-beings who guard the entrance to the Path of the Sun. 
Gilgamesh strides through the tunnelled Path of the Sun that circles the earth and finally enters a garden of jewels in the Netherworld.  He discovers that Uta-napishti lives beyond the waters that cannot be crossed by living beings; the Waters of Death bar his entrance.
Uta-napishti’s ferryman nevertheless leads Gilgamesh over this life-threatening water to the other shore.
Uta-napishti cautions Gilgamesh that rather than seeking eternal life for himself he should instead strive to place the well-being of his people in the fore and restore good will between men and the gods.  Uta-napishti relates the story of how only he and his kin survived the Deluge and how he was granted eternal life. In a last effort, Gilgamesh is able to seize a plant that will give him eternal youth but it is lost on the return to Uruk.




In Uruk, Gilgamesh remembers the teachings of Uta-napishti.  Purified and chastened, Gilgamesh accepts his mortality and then directs all his strength and wisdom to the governance of Uruk as a good shepherd and king should.   He surrounds Uruk with a protective wall, rebuilds the temples that were destroyed by The Flood, and restores the former rites and rituals that bound men and gods.

He was not able to attain eternal life as a seeker and rebel but the gods accepted him into their circle after his death.  Even centuries after his time, Gilgamesh was honored as the Lord of the Netherworld.


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